You know, when Steven Moffat sat down to work out how the next series of Doctor Who was going to work, I’m sure he had many, many things to consider. Not least of these was the kind of companion who was going to accompany the Doctor.
Now Big Finish can be a little off the wall sometimes, but usually they’re quite conventional. However, this time – for three plays only – they’ve done something that I bet Steven Moffat never, ever considered: they’ve given him a racist, fascist, time-travelling Nazi scientist as an assistant. Yeah, beat that Stevie, you no-talent hack.
For those of you who haven’t been listening to the Big Finish plays for the last decade or so, Colditz has probably slipped under your radar, especially since it’s a Seventh Doctor/Ace play, so likely to be languishing at the bottom of any collection/bargain bin. Just to jog your memory, it’s the one with David Tennant doing the bad German accent.
You probably won’t recall the actual plot, however, so let me remind you: the Doctor and Ace land in/near Colditz; they do lots of dumb things; the Nazis capture them and the TARDIS; a Nazi scientist called Klein takes the TARDIS into the future where the Third Reich have won the Second World War; through timey-wimey machinations the alternative future gets undone, Herr David Tennant gets killed off, and Klein is left lurking around somewhere in the world, possessing knowledge of science and the alternative future that she shouldn’t have.
A Thousand Tiny Wings picks up where Colditz left off by plopping the companionless Seventh Doctor down into 1950s Kenya at the time of the Mau Mau uprising. Here he comes across a bunch of posh English people stuck in a house and slowly being killed off by a mysterious poison. And Dr Elizabeth Klein.
Sounding good yet? No? Thought not.
Yet, despite sounding extremely bad on paper, it’s actually a pretty decent play in practice.